Return to Edition Index

In Memory of Ray Busby

20 April, 2023

Ray Busby (1/3/41 – 23/2/23)

Born in Rockhampton in 1941, Ray Busby was a charismatic and passionate man with the incredible ability to make everyone and anyone who entered his space feel welcomed, wanted, and very special.

He was kind and his selflessness was a hallmark of his character. A true gentleman, he treated every person as an equal, and cared little for status and background – Ray looked inward, into the whole person. There was no common denominator in his best friends, setting the table for the poorest of the poor, the richest of the rich and everyone in between. But his best quality wasn’t just his love and natural affinity for people around him, it was his undying belief in the power of forgiveness. Ever a man who maintained his heart in moments of hardness, and it was his joy to teach all his children and grandchildren how to be kind, loyal and loving to every person who came their way.

Ray learned the importance of family and the value of hard work from a young age. From his parents he inherited a dedication to faith, a strong work ethic, a passion for craftsmanship, and a love of music and dancing.

He attended primary school at St Joseph’s Wandal under the supervision of the Josephite nuns. At the age of 12, Ray began a carpentry and joinery apprenticeship, the beginning of a long and successful career in the construction industry.

In 1964 Ray married his beloved Margie and together they had 8 children, 34 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. He saw his family as his greatest achievement.

Ray had a unique and inspiring vision of the world and its endless possibilities. His strong faith underpinned his fearless approach to every task and each day lived was a win. His glass was never half full, it overflowed every single day of his life and he could see beauty in all things. He was also the most generous man you would ever meet and gave with all his heart to anyone in need. He firmly believed that the more he gave, the more he would receive, and his life proved that to be true.

Throughout Ray’s life, stories of his generous giving followed him. He expressed his faith in every situation and set the bar very high for his family, friends and work colleagues. He was devoted to his parents and siblings and supported them from his very first paycheck until their final days. As a young man he proudly joined the St Vincent de Paul Society and it became a very personal mission to alleviate the poverty and inequality he saw in his community. He often returned home after his SVDP visits, barefoot and without his coat. If Ray saw a need he responded immediately. One of his favourite sayings was, “you have to give ‘till it hurts” and he certainly lived by this.

Ray was also known for his fair and tough dealings in business. He once sacked an employee on the spot for doing the wrong thing. The man pleaded with him to stay as he needed to support his family. Ray considered briefly, and then gave the fellow his marching orders to the front gate and told him to take a car on his way out, sell it and give the money to his wife.

On another occasion he walked into a bank and asked to pay out a substantial loan for one of his employees. The bank manager, an old friend, was dumbfounded, and asked him, “Ray, why are you doing this, he is not a relation or friend?” Ray’s simple response was, “I don’t care, I want to help this man who works for me and is doing it tough.”

These are examples of just a couple of stories that have been told by others and no doubt there are many more that we will never know. He was humble and taught his children that you don’t give to tell and get glory, for you may never know who that person could be – it could have been Jesus! Ray loved his sport and many times after cheering on his local rugby league side, he would arrive unannounced to the dressing sheds and whether the team had won, lost or drawn would single out each player and congratulate them with, “Great game son, you will play for Australia.” Even these brief encouraging words held the power to inspire many young men to believe anything is possible.

Staying true to his Catholic faith was his priority. He never missed Mass and had a deep love and devotion to Mary and the Rosary which held a significant role in bringing his family together in prayer.

Ray’s legacy was not just in his achievements or the way he treated people, but in the way he loved and respected his wife and children. He showed all how to be a true partner in life, how to be a supporting father through thick and thin, and how to love unconditionally.

As we remember Ray Busby, we take solace in the fact that he lived his life to the full. He always said, ‘he couldn’t wait to get to heaven’ and now he has left us, we know his spirit will continue to guide and inspire his family and friends for generations to come.